WITH no extra money for education, there will, inevitably, be winners and losers in the reallocation of school funds after an acceptance that pupils in shire counties were left disadvantaged by a system which favoured their counterparts in metropolitan areas.
Yet, while the changes vindicate the fairness campaign led by Beverley MP Graham Stuart and others, the Government does need to ask whether it can justify a spending squeeze at a time when pupil numbers are rising when so many youngsters are completing their full-time education without acquiring skills fit for the 21st century.
This is critical. If immigration rules are going to be tightened significantly, and companies less dependent on employees from the EU, this void is going to have to be filled by young people from Britain – and, specifically, those individuals who are not already in full-time employment.
Schools, colleges and universities need to move with the time as the rollout of 5G technology transforms the digital economy still further. In this regard, Tory grandee Ken Baker, a radical Education Secretary in Margaret Thatcher’s government, made a key point in the House of Lords when he suggested that computing was now as important, if not more so, than learning a foreign language. It’s a valid point. If the country is not careful, it will be facing a skills crisis at the very time when the whole of Britain needs to be working ‘morning, noon and night’ to retain its status as the world’s fifth-largest economy when Brexit does take shape and effect.